Jan. 2nd, 2017 02:55 pm
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Now that Yuletide reveals are over (I have a more conventional reveal post here) I can finally inflict on you guys all the feelings I have about Earthsea, which I read again for the first time in many years (at least ten, maybe fifteen) this fall.

...I have a lot of feelings.

The second trilogy, which I reread first. )

The first trilogy, which I read second. )

Le Guin and style. )
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I have fifty other things that actually need to get done, and other posts I'm supposed to be making (I have two more posts still left on January meme, never mind that it's almost March), but I have to rant about this awful editorial on How to Raise a Creative Child. Step One: Back Off. It's an editorial about how child prodigies don't necessarily grow up to be geniuses, and how perhaps one can in fact raise a creative child.

The thing is, I don't actually disagree with that first part of what he's saying. (I was a bit of a child prodigy, although I grew up in a small enough town that it didn't take much for other people to think so (I would probably not be a child prodigy by, oh, present-day New York City standards), and I became a reasonably competent though not particularly exceptional adult, so I am basically both a great example of and target audience for this kind of thing.) I just… think it's really poorly written. (And I actually strenuously disagree with the second part of his conclusions, but there, I'm getting ahead of myself.)

Oh hey, I feel a rant coming on. )
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I am so tired of ants! We get sugar ants every year, when it gets hot and dry. This year has been much hotter and dryer than usual, so the ants have been worse than I've ever seen them before.

It's not that we get the ant invasions with hundreds of ants pouring into the house because they've found a small crumb on the floor, although we do. The ant invasions, I've found, can be dealt with by using Terro ant traps. (Tip: Terro ant traps are the only thing we have ever found that actually work to get rid of ants. And we have tried lots of other things: other ant traps, ant spray, flour, vinegar... At the local hardware store in the summer there is a big hole in the ant trap section where the Terro ant traps are stocked because people have made a run for them, while all the other sorts of ant traps are fully stocked because they don't work.)

But for some reason the ants just... kind of... like to hang out in our house. We'll get, like, five or ten of them just meandering around the floor on some unfathomable ant errand. These ants don't seem to care about the ant traps, either. The problem is that they are everywhere -- five or ten in the bathroom, in the kitchen, on the bookshelf, worst of all on the bed -- and they don't seem to mind crawling on people, either. It turns out that if I have to have a bug crawling on me, sugar ants set off my bug squick less than any other possible bug, so I guess that's good? But it's really annoying!
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So -- I'd been reading Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, by Eliezer Yudkowsky. Which I actually like rather a lot! It ended around the same time A. was born, so it was pretty much perfect to read while I was nursing or otherwise occupied with mindless infant-rearing things.

The ending, though, bothered me, and I couldn't really articulate why until I read Sorcerer to the Crown, which superficially has a similar ending but -- but really, really doesn't.

Cut mainly for rant. Major spoilers for HPMoR, none for SttC. )

Also, by the way, the author wants HPMoR to get a Hugo nomination. Although I appreciated a lot of the things he was doing, I vote no on this. Here are the reasons:
Apparently I had a lot to say about this. Cut for length. No explicit spoilers (some implicit ones). )
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So, I started reading the Hugo nominee "All the Beasts and Birds," and got halfway through, and the next day I signed up for a Worldcon membership just so I could vote against it. (And, presumably, the other Puppy works, although this is the only one I have read so far.)

I mean, I liked it! If I had read it on AO3 as New Testament fanfic, I would have kudosed it. And it is not its fault that I read it right after being in beta-mode for a couple of different things -- but -- well, that's the thing. It's decent enough when considered as unbetaed fanfic, but as a candidate for best speculative-fiction professional short story of the year? Really?

This story fails on a fundamental craft level. )

So... I guess I'm going to have to read some other Hugo nominees now so I can cast an informed vote (although quite possibly not any more Wright, I feel this is all I can handle). Watch this space for, at the least, Three-Body Problem.
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Some random scattered thoughts on finally having a smartphone:

Interestingly, my primary reaction has been to be really annoyed at the lack of pockets in women's clothes! Previously this didn't really bother me as much, because I didn't have anything I wanted to put in them enough to get more than a trifle annoyed about it. Now I always want to have the smartphone with me, and it is really annoying when I don't have a place to put it. (To be perfectly fair, it is not just because I am addicted to the smartphone. It's also that right now at work I am often working in two different locations in the building, one of which doesn't have a work phone or email, and so I do actually need my own phone with me in case D or E's school, for example, needs to reach me. Which has happened.)

Right now I am jamming it into my one pair of maternity jeans with pockets (maternity pants appear to be Even Worse than normal women's pants about pockets) and wearing fleece around a lot when not wearing those pants. I also bought a couple of maxi skirts (dual-use in that they are mostly wearable during pregnancy, but hopefully also will fit afterwards) with pockets to wear to church. My goal is that from now on, at least while I have a good job, I am only going to buy clothes with pockets from now on to the best of my ability. (In non-professional settings, having pockets is not quite as necessary for me, though still vastly preferable.) Such clothes do seem to exist here and there, although also appear to in general to be rather more expensive than clothes without pockets (or with useless pockets). I also don't know what to do about dress pants, which as far as I can tell don't come with anything but very small non-smartphone-friendly pockets, except maybe getting a pair custom tailored. (That being said, dress pants are probably not actually something I need to be super concerned about, as most of the times I would be wearing them I would be in situations where I am actually required not to take my phone with me and/or would also be wearing a blazer, which could have pockets.)

I mean… I understand that women's clothes are built to show off our nice curves and not to Put Things In. And, I mean, I like showing off my nice curves (such as they are), but… it also… seems kind of sexist that I should be wearing clothes for that reason, whereas as I pointed out to D (and he enthusiastically agreed), men would rise up in arms and refuse to buy a pair of pants (or jacket, or blazer) that didn't have pockets. Deep pockets. Lots of pockets. Plus which, it looks kind of stupid to be carrying around either a bag or a smartphone in my hand at work, and why is it that I have to look stupid and the men I work with don't? Bleah.

Other non-pocket-related smartphone items:

-I'm doing a LOT more texting. It is suddenly clear why everyone else likes texting so much. When I can see more than one text on my screen and scroll through the whole conversation, it's pretty nice.

-The thing that has made most difference to me is the calendar/tasking app. It's really nice to have all that in one place. Previously, it was too much trouble for me to keep a google calendar synced, partially because whenever I wanted to put something in the calendar I invariably didn't have the computer around, or the work firewall was being irritating again, or something. So I actually had a paper calendar I carried around, which was also not ideal. And I use the "tasks" checklist a lot.

-The other thing I'm using more than I'd expected is the camera. Not for taking pictures of E, as one might expect (though I have a couple of those). It turns out to be very useful when coaxing E not to pick flowers, or clean up a duplo building she's very proud of; we just take a picture of it, and then she can go on her way knowing that the picture is there forever. (…no, she has never yet actually requested to access the pictures. Just knowing it's there is enough, I guess!)

-The thing I am not using that I expected to use more of is the GPS/maps. Much of this is pure luck/timing; it just so happens that since Christmas I haven't been anywhere new.

-I'm pretty happy with the Android app selection so far. I don't need my phone to do much out of the ordinary, and so far everything I've wanted it to do has been pretty simple and there's been an app for it.

-Google has gone from knowing a scary amount about me to… knowing a really scary amount about me. Not sure I like this.
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[personal profile] morbane asked about something I like in different ways in fiction vs. real life.

I'm not sure if this is exactly answering the question, but I'm going to talk about something I absolutely hate and despise in real life, and which I madly adore in fiction: Conspiracy theories!

In real life, I hate them with a complete and utter passion, because they basically always signal a lack of any kind of understanding of quantitative analysis, the way that science works, and the way that people/governments work. (And if that isn't bad enough, you may be doing harm to me and my family; see rant below.) First, because it seems like this should be obvious even if you don't know how to add: anyone who suggests that there is a vast government conspiracy to cover up something super huge for years and years like lack of moon landing, or whatever, has… well… never worked for the government, and probably has never worked for an organization involving more than a thousand people, or else is completely clueless, because, um, yeah, large bureaucratic organizations don't really work competently enough like that, even though lots of people have bent their energies to the problem of trying to be able to keep things secret. And, of course, if you want me to go completely ballistic, try suggesting there's a conspiracy to give kids autism via vaccination, because excuse me herd immunity I do not appreciate you risking the health of my children, and yes I am talking to you, upper-middle-class scientifically illiterate people I hold responsible for the recent pertussis outbreak in the community in which I live! (1)(Scientific method! Analytical studies! Retractions! Also see my previous note on vast government conspiracies! But mostly: rage.)


In fiction, I eat that stuff up, because "conspiracy theory" in fiction is another way of saying "long-range narrative arc," and it comes hand-in-hand with intricate plotting and worldbuilding, which are things I love more than anything. (And also there are usually a lot of people behaving extremely competently, both the conspiracy-builders — which they would have to in order to get the conspiracy going and keep it secret to begin with — and the people who bring the conspiracy down. Which is also something I really love.) If it turns out that there is a vast conspiracy involving alternate universes? Sign me up. Every time! (Hi X-Files, my first TV vast-government-conspiracy love! Wish you'd been able to stick with it! Hi Fringe, I'm enjoying you a lot!) A vast government conspiracy involving the very foundations of the country being involved in a massive plot? Fullmetal Alchemist for the win! A vast conspiracy involving time-traveling cyborgs? I am so there, Kage Baker!

Anyone have large-scale intricate-plot conspiracies that they would like to recommend? :)

(1) Wow. At the particular swanky private preschool in my community that had the outbreak last fall, seventy-two percent of the kids were opted out of at least some vaccinations, with forty-seven percent not fully immunized against pertussis in particular. Just. This page is not sufficient to contain my rage, so I'll just say: wow.
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1. I have lunch with a coworker once or twice a month, and this time his wife came along. His wife was a member of the school board for many years, so I grilled talked to her about the science sequence I mentioned here. She tells me that this whole terrible physics-in-ninth-grade thing is a statewide thing, possibly galvanized by federal testing requirements. ARRRRRRGH. Her guess was that it was instituted because someone somewhere believed that kids were intimidated by physics and not taking it and not learning it… so… their solution was to have everyone take it earlier in the curriculum. WELL, GUESS WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THIS SYSTEM.

(For the record, she was also very much against this science sequence. I haven't talked to anyone who is FOR it.)

2. Our local high school has a block schedule; they take three or four classes each semester for an hour and a half each instead of six-seven classes for 45 minutes each. I have been told by coworker's wife that most people really like this system, and I believe it. I think in particular that for strong students who can easily handle that kind of information density, it's probably a great thing.

For C. it is a disaster, especially for physics, because we are barely keeping up with the flow of information. I'm struggling to keep us up with the stuff they do in class, so that I have been completely unable, except in small bits around the side which she then promptly forgets, to teach C. the things she actually needs to know to do physics (that is, math: fractions, decimals, the concept of a base ten system in general, manipulation of abstract variables *throws up hands in despair*).

2a. What can you do when you ask what two divided by four is and the pupil wildly guesses 1.3? I JUST. I think had I known what an uphill job this was going to be, I would not have taken it on. Except that this is apparently the kind of thing I can't help but want to try to help with.

3. Things I would really prefer not ever to have to do again: attempt to explain the concept of the universal gravitational law being directly proportional to mass and inversely square proportional to distance to someone who does not understand/remember fractions or the concept of abstract variables or that multiplication is the opposite of division. aaaaaarrrrgh.
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I just started tutoring this kid C. in physics.

The person or group who put together the science class sequence for our local high school, and who decided the ninth graders should take physics -- I am not sure whether this is a local thing or a California thing or what; C.'s mom seemed to think it was local school board thing, and I certainly hope it is not all of California that is suffering this way -- should be dragged out and shot forced to sit in the middle of a ninth-grade physics class and watch them all flail about. Personally I wonder if shooting might be more humane. It is painful just watching C. flail about, and she's only the one kid. I feel really, really sorry for the physics teacher and even sorrier for the kids.

Also, C.'s math education is super bothering me. Basically I'm not at all happy with American public school education this week.

Cut for the extended version of this rant. )

Also, ugh, I'm going to be learning a lot about fraction and decimal pedagogy in the next couple of weeks. I've got a lot of experience in explaining high school science, as well as having had good pedagogy examples in both my chemistry and physics teachers -- but very little on either score for explaining fractions, which I've always assumed the kid understood, and I don't even remember how I learned them! Oh well. I suppose figuring out how to explain this stuff will come in useful for E. or something.
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So [personal profile] nolly linked me to an interesting article about gay sex and death in Orson Scott Card's work. ...I definitely agree with some of it (probably more than not) and roll my eyes at other parts of it :)

I state the author's conclusions in italics and my own conclusions afterwards:

Homoerotic desire is one aspect of the human condition that Card represents frequently and with a great deal of poignant detail.

Hm. Not sure I'd say frequently? But more so than the vast majority of writers in the 80's. I agree about the poignant detail. And an interesting point she raises about the, er, gay male gaze -- I only recently became aware of the "male gaze" as a thing, and... yeah, that's very interesting, you hardly ever get descriptions in Card's work of female breasts and hips and whatever; it's something that I (subliminally) actually rather liked about his work when I was snarfing through it in high school. But there do seem to be a lot of beautiful young men described in a lot of detail.

Though gay sex is thus figured as intensely appealing, it is a resolutely forbidden fruit. Characters who “give in” to homosexual impulses are punished—and not merely by the villains of the novel. Villains, heroes, the dictates of the plot, the biological imperative to reproduce, even God: all conspire to torture, maim, shun, kill, and genetically annihilate any gay character so “misguided” as to be true to his feelings.

...I mean, this is true, I guess? Except that maiming, killing, and general physical and emotional torture seems to happen to men in general in Card's work, regardless of their sexual orientation. Let's see. Tortured to death without anesthetic? Two heterosexual humans and one heterosexual alien. All limbs cut off and genetically annihilated? The sexuality-undetermined protagonist of "Kingslayer." Head cut off, forced to live, and tortured with mental bladder pressure? (Really -- minor character in Wyrms.) Heterosexual, again. Forced to kill your own son (speaking of genetic annihilation)? Heterosexual. I mean, basically, if you're a male character in a Card novel, your odds are not good regardless of your sexuality. I am not sure I can think of any books I've read by him where at least one male character, of various sexuality and marriage status, was not tortured/mutilated/messily-killed. (This propensity was strongest in his earlier work, and has decreased over time, so it's possible that some of his recent stuff doesn't have it. But his recent stuff is also high on the crazy and the bad-writing, so I don't read it anymore.)

Actually, this is an interesting article because it makes me realize that this almost never happens to women in Card's fiction. I can think of exactly one example where a (heterosexual) woman is (physically) tortured/killed/genetically-annihilated: the wife of the slavemaster in Prentice Alvin.

…I could say a lot of things about what this might say about torture as homoerotism and/or the way women are placed on a pedestal in Mormon culture, but I won't.

As I've noted in a previous post, there is a part of Card, suppressed in his later years, that is deeply ambivalent about biological reproduction vs. other kinds of contribution to the world. Gay/bisexual boy gets to be -- spoilers, but I don't care anymore -- emperor of the universe AND give his non-genetic artistic heritage to the entire universe, which is presented as a much better (and more poignant) alternative than either being emperor or reproducing genetically. Yeah, fine, it would be better if he also had hot gay sex on the side, but let's see what happens to the other characters in the same book: gay guy is mutilated and tortured and hangs himself, okay, but let's look at the other characters: guy who kills the gay guy (of indeterminate sexuality) self-mutilates himself to death (random thought based on propinquity of reading: oh hi there Mother Hitton's Littul Kittons, I hadn't made that particular connection before, though I've known for years that Card's early work is littered with ideas he stole from Cordwainer Smith); het guy is driven insane and shot to death; woman who plays by the (sexual) "rules" and has het sex only within the confines of marriage is NOT tortured physically (probably because she is female, lucky her) BUT has already been condemned to exile and knowing she can't do what really matters, and is presented as possibly one of the most unhappy characters in the book... Oh, and a happy ending for four characters (two females (one het), one undetermined-sexuality male, one the gay/bisexual) in the book: three of them die of cold exposure and the fourth gets a job she hates which will one day culminate in her dying of cold exposure. Yes, those were the happy endings.

The thing is, you just don't want to be in an OSC book, period.

There is only one alternative for gay characters who wish to avoid genital mutilation and/or genetic death: to repress their desires, to get married and to father children, taking what comfort they can in the joys of parenthood and their passionless partnerships with women.

...yeah. I agree with the author's analysis of the Ender novels (and the Memory of Earth books, man) that way. It's true that Songmaster (and to a lesser extent Ender's Game) gives one more alternative: to transcend genetic death through artistic life. But in general yeah, and this message sort of gets stronger with time (until it turns into the crazy we have today).

No matter how hard the narrative tries to pound home this last, official-policy message (repent and repress), there remains a lingering sense of the impossibility of ever finally killing desire. Individual bodies may be mutilated and torn apart, whole generations of buggers exterminated, yet in novel after novel, the longing returns, resurrected, and with it the choice: submit and sublimate, or die.

I can't argue with this one, actually. I find this kind of an interesting analysis, and rather perceptive.

I also like how the author ties it in to Card's being an outsider (which he also is in Mormon culture). I find that observation a perceptive connection that I didn't make myself but which I think is very interesting. (I've noticed before that his books with strongest Mormon explicit text -- The Folk of the Fringe, Lost Boys -- tend to be his best work, because he's sort of working counterpoint to the party message.)
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This post is for [personal profile] ollipop, who asked where to start with reading L'Engle.

...It depends!

For the remainder of this post, I'll use L'Engle's terms of kairos (the Murry/O'Keefe books) and chronos (the Austin books), and connection books (books that aren't focused on the O'Keefes or Austins, okay, I can't remember if this is exactly what she called them, whatever).

Cut for length. )

Note that L'Engle was a Christian, if a radical one, and all her stories are told from a perspective of faith in a loving God (she doesn't beat you over the head with it, but it's definitely a clear influence of her worldview), and this is particularly true of the nonfiction and the Murry-kairos books. (The protagonist of Small Rain/Severed Wasp is not religious, nor are the O'Keefe family to my knowledge, or at least not exactly, so those would be good places to start if you'd rather not read from that worldview.)

In conclusion: all the nonfiction, Ring of Endless Light (you may want to read Arm of the Starfish and The Moon By Night first, and you definitely want to read House Like a Lotus after), and Small Rain/Severed Wasp.

And read all of Sheila O'Malley's writing on L'Engle. (Scroll down about halfway down the page to get to her book discussions.)
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I still haven't finished part 4. The thing is LONG! But I am getting there! In the meantime, have moooore thoughts than you ever wanted to know about me and the book and the musical.

The abridged book, the Broadway recording, the musical, the book, the Complete Symphonic Recording )

Rambly incoherent FEELS on the Broadway vs. CSR recordings )
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(Book: 2/5, Movie: 3/5, Musical: 3+/5, Broadway cast album: 3/5, London cast album: 3+/5, Musical broadcast performance: 4/5) Yeah. So. Um. Some time ago, I watched Legally Blonde, the movie, mostly because I actually saw part of it being filmed (they used my campus for a couple of the shots, and so I'd be walking to class and see movie cameras everywhere). It was a fun movie -- not least the novelty of seeing my staid, geeky campus being used as a party school. Then through Pandora I started listening to the songs of the musical.

I finally sat down and listened to all the songs, and was intrigued enough to watch the whole thing on a youtube copy of the MTV airing of the musical with Laura Bell Bundy and Christian Borle and... um... really liked it. I'd go so far as to say I'm a little obsessed, if you couldn't tell from the plethora of rankings at the beginning... It's, well, like the movie: pink and fashionable sorority girl Elle (Bundy) isn't taken seriously by her boyfriend Warner, so she follows him to Harvard Law School to win him back... and then it turns out to be a riff on finding one's own place and voice in the world on one's own terms, and not letting a guy dictate one's terms.

The musical's big strength, I think (which it mostly shares with the movie), is that it never really takes itself seriously. (Indeed, "Seriously," one of the early songs, is also one of the best ones for how it very much pokes fun at the generic love ballad.) I mean, let's face it, this is a musical where the heroine gets into Harvard Law by doing a dance number accompanied by a huge poster of her and her ex-boyfriend, after which the old stodgy professors on the admissions committee join in the dance number. Yeah. It's a delicate structure of bouncy absurdities that, if it ever tried to take itself seriously, would fall down catastrophically, but it doesn't. (There are frequent parts where the characters are taken seriously, which is all to the good -- it wouldn't have any emotional depth otherwise -- but never where the musical takes itself as a musical seriously.)

Cut mostly for length, because it turns out I want to pontificate more about <i>Legally Blonde: The Musical</i> than you could have imagined, or than you want to read: energy, analysis of the music, singing vs. acting, album vs. performance, character development, compassion, feminism, and stereotypes. Shut up. I had to get this out, and now I'm all right and sane again, I think. Mostly. )

I also thought about it some and realized that I think my obsession with this musical is my version of the Twilight phenomenon. By which I mean: I understand why teenage girls love Twilight, but I also know a surprising number of middle-aged women with husbands and children who love it, including level-headed women who would be the last people I'd think would enjoy vampire love. After reading it, I decided it was because it took you back to when you were giddy-crushing/falling-in-love with someone, and I guess it is, for these people, a wonderfully nostalgic time to remember. Well. Twilight didn't do it for me, at all, but apparently, even though I have nothing in common with a sorority girl who goes to law school, I love being taken back to a time where I got to be really good friends with a guy, that later turned into romantic interest (Hi, D! And, for that matter, S!) And in the context of learning one can grow in directions one never really thought about, or thought one could grow in. Huh. How about that.

(Also. Um. Er. Would any of you be willing to, um, beta? I KNOW. Shut up.)
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[ profile] julianyap has once again declared National Put Quotes in Your Blog Month, so I'm going to put one in every post I make this month.

"Truth is all I have, and truth is never a comfort. But understanding truth, that is what you taught me to do. So here is the truth. What human life is, what it's for, what we do, is create communities. Some of them are good, some of them are evil, or somewhere between. You taught me this, didn't you?"

-Diko to her mother Tagiri, Pastwatch

[ profile] winterfox had a very interesting post. It's locked, I think [EDITED: unfortunately, has been deleted], but here are the money quotes:
...even in fairytales where the girl is the one setting out to rescue the boy (i.e. "The Snow Queen"), the alpha and omega of her desires--her person, her motive, her dreams--is still a man.
It's like, a lot of authors who think they are being feminist and shit don't... quite get the point: their female protagonists, rather than forming strong relationships with other women, are defined by their relations with men. Their fathers shaped them from childhood. Their boyfriends give them a reason to exist. It's all... proper.

Oh, sure, their dads supposedly taught them to be progressive and enlightened and strong and shit, but why not their mothers? It could just easily have been. Or their older sisters, or their aunts. Whatever. Why can't these super-feisty heroines grow up with female role models?

My first reaction was, "Ah, that can't be so!" and then I went to look at my bookshelf. Cut for randomness and rantiness )
And ending with a strong-female-friendship quote in honor of NPQiYBM:

It finally dawned on her that their exaggerated courtesies signified respect.

It made her furious. All Kareen’s courage of endurance had bought her nothing, Lady Vorpatril’s brave and bloody birth-giving was taken for granted, but whack off some idiot’s head and you were really somebody, by God—!

2-5-11: ETA link to unlocked post, above.
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Um, okay. On rereading this post, I am not actually sure this will be interesting to anyone but me, but this ate my brain until I wrote it down, so I am inflicting it upon you.

Le Guin's recent work, I feel, sometimes has the feel that she's sacrificing a clear eye to Make a Point. Not so in The Dispossessed. The thing that struck me most heavily on reread is the merciless truth of her view of her "ambiguous utopia" of Anarres. It seems clear to me that we are meant to think of the anarchist (-ish) Anarres as superior and capitalist Urras as inferior; and Shevek, the protagonist, certainly thinks so. And Anarres has a number of wonderful things about it. But it is flawed too, and Le Guin does not shrink from enumerating those flaws.

I was very, very impressed by how incredibly spot on Le Guin gets the advantages and disadvantages of Anarres -- because a significant portion of my life is spent in a very Anarres-like setting, and I can attest that she gets it exactly right (so right that either she is extremely good at extrapolating or she lived her own version of Anarres, though clearly not my version). I refer to the LDS (Mormon) church here. )
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Okay, I finished Mockingjay. And... I liked it more than I thought I would. I actually did think it was good, though I certainly found the second half way way way WAY more compelling than the first (I have a couple more thoughts about this). More than that, it made me want to rant about it, which a) is a good sign, and b) usually means that it is both doing a lot of things right (otherwise I wouldn't care) and is seriously flawed (otherwise I'd just rave and declare undying love, which I'm not doing at all).

Mockingjay-destroying spoilers! I compare Suzanne Collins unfavorably to Sarah Rees Brennan, Megan Whalen Turner, and Lois McMaster Bujold. I've tried to avoid spoilers for any of their books, but there are probably mild meta-spoilers. )

ETA: GAH, I am sorry for the un-cut spoilers. Defective tag has been fixed.
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So I went to Borders Saturday. Did they have thank-you notes, which I was planning to get from the Hallmarks next door? Why yes they did. Ones that were, in fact, nicer, and competitively priced, compared to the Hallmarks.

Did they have A Conspiracy of Kings? Why, no they did not. So, no, I have not read it yet. Grr. (I have a Borders gift card -- best shower gift card present ever!! -- and have promised to use it before buying any more books from other sources, otherwise I would have ordered it from Amazon already, or got the ebook version.)

Okay, on to Free shipping over $25, cool. Okay. ...Does it sell Creative Stonesetting, which is the other book I've been meaning to buy? No, it does not.

I thought borders was supposed to be a bookstore?

(So, the answer is no, I haven't read aCoK yet. Though I am dying to, and presumably to talk about it once I have.)
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Grr. It is WAY easier to find wedding-planning information in... just as a random example... St. Louis, than it is to find premarital counseling information. This is not exactly surprising to me, but it is very sad. No wonder divorce rates are so high.
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Kate Nepveu has a post talking about a panel on taboos in fantasy, which made me think about my own personal taboos and how they've been violated recently.

I recently read this book Burned by Ellen Hopkins, a YA book about an adolescent girl who is part of an abusive family and is looking for love, and the ways that sex plays into both of those. The problem is not that it's a bad book. In fact, despite the part where it's in "poetry," it's actually a good book. More than that, it's a powerful book. First of all, it deals with powerful themes (abuse, teenage sex), and furthermore it is good at what it does-- it seared its message into my brain the way that the best YA-targeted novels do, like Chris Crutcher's (more on him in a sec!) did when I was a teenager, and I'm not even an adolescent now.

So why am I about to tell you NOT to read this book, that I would prefer you to avoid this book at all costs? Because it's riddled with inaccuracies of portrayal of something I feel rather strongly about, mostly implicitly but sometimes explicitly, and because I think the message is both incorrect and damaging (both to an external group and to its target audience).

Cut for severe incoherent rantings about the confluence of religion-abuse-sex, and thoughts on what YA authors owe their audiences. Also, if you need to read gritty YA about troubled adolescents, go read Chris Crutcher. )

I don't know. That's where I draw the line, at what emotionally sets me off, but I'm not entirely comfortable with it, since I know it's not entirely consistent.


Oct. 4th, 2007 12:12 pm
cahn: (Default)
So I don't think any of you were planning on seeing the film version of The Dark is Rising, but if you were, could I ask you to stay away? Or at least don't go see it opening weekend? This is one of my treasured childhood icons that's being trashed here...

Also, in case my plea doesn't move you, I read a bunch of reviews and no one likes it anyway, plus which I understand that it is now very much like Harry Potter, so you could just rent the latest Harry Potter movie instead.


cahn: (Default)

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